Certificate of Advanced Studies: Operational Communications, Advocacy & Negotiation


The course is focused on operational communication. As such, its primary focus is to enable participants to better communicate, advocate and negotiate in order to achieve programme objectives in the context of humanitarian action. The course will allow students to map the communication environment, understand how to interact with media in humanitarian crises and develop and adapt key messages to specific constituencies. A special emphasis is given to new media technologies and how they can be harnessed to improve dialogue with affected populations and enhance the overall effectiveness of humanitarian action.

For humanitarian professionals, this course will enable you to extend your communications, advocacy skills and negotiation skills which are often required within broader management roles.

For communications professionals working in other sectors, the course will familiarize you with the specifics involved in communications and advocacy in the humanitarian field in preparation for a possible career change.

Learning outcomes in terms of knowledge - Understanding of

  • the power relations between communication stakeholders in local and global contexts
  • the stakes related to communication in humanitarian aid
  • cross-cultural and ethical aspects of communication, information and journalism
  • the use and impact of (new) tools and technologies of communication and information in humanitarian settings

Learning outcomes in terms of skills - Capacity to

  • strategically develop and nurture the dialogue with the main stakeholders, including affected populations
  • determine communication modes according to the key stakeholders to reach a determined goal
  • use specialized problem-solving skills competencies to build up, follow up and evaluate a proper communication/advocacy strategy in humanitarian action

Learning outcomes in terms of analytical competencies - Ability to

  • master collaboration techniques between media and the humanitarian world for the benefit of the assisted populations
  • master various communication approaches according to various stakeholders (public opinion, beneficiaries, media, political or traditional leaders)
  • critically review communication strategies and objectives of various stakeholders
  • choose the appropriate activities and tools to advocate for a humanitarian goal

II. Structure

7 intensive weeks (around 300 hours) of individual work including

  • pre-readings,
  • face to face sessions (lectures, role plays, working groups, field work, media training)
  • and personal work (readings, research, writing)

Weeks 1 – 6: lectures, workshops, role-plays etc.
Week 7: personal thematic paper

III. Programme

Week 1: Humanitarian Communication: Concepts and Framework

Week 2: Participatory Approaches with Crisis-Affected Communities

Week 3: Designing an Advocacy Strategy for Humanitarian Action

Week 4: Media and Humanitarian Action: Approaches & Challenges

Week 5: Representation to Create a Relationship: Strategy and ethical concerns

Week 6: Negotiation in Humanitarian Settings: Main concepts and Strategy

Week 7: Personal thematic paper

Iv. credits

10 ECTS credits. Once obtained, they are valid for a period of 5 years during which they can be used to complete the Master of Advanced Studies.